25 June 2013

Harvard Business Review: “The Great Dereliction”

I'd like to advance a simple thesis: today's leaders are failing on a grand, epic, global, historic scale — at precisely a time when leadership is sorely needed most. They're failing me, everyone under the age of 35, and everyone worth less than about $50 million. I can excuse leaders who are boring, mean, stingy, greedy, uninteresting, self-obsessed, vacuous, and generally lame. I can even excuse lying, cheating, and stealing. But I can't excuse the fact that they've failed.

If I had five seconds with today's so-called leaders, I'd simply, firmly, gently say (and I bet you would, too): You've failed to provide us opportunity. You've failed to provide us security. You've failed to provide us liberty. You've failed to provide us dignity. You've failed to provide us prosperity. So: resign. Quit. Step aside. Umair Haque

Easier said than done. If the current leaders step down, who will take their place and how do we insure they do a better job than those who left?

Whenever such discussions come up, I always like to defer to my favorite textbook on politics, Dune. I don’t claim it has some universal solution, but it does raise valid questions that must be considered whenever changes in governance and leadership are made.

Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristocratic forms. No government in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, government tends more and more to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class – whether that class be hereditary royalty, oligarchs of financial empires, or entrenched bureaucracy.
Good government never depends upon laws, but upon the personal qualities of those who govern. The machinery of government is always subordinate to the will of those who administer that machinery. The most important element of government, therefore, is the method of choosing leaders. Law and Governance, The Spacing Guild Manual
Power attracts the corruptible. Suspect all who seek it… We should grant power over our affairs only to those who are reluctant to hold it and then only under conditions that increase that reluctance.
Oh, the perils of leadership in a species so anxious to be told what to do. How little they knew of what they created by their demands. Leaders made mistakes. And those mistakes, amplified by the numbers who followed without questioning, moved inevitably toward great disasters. Reverend Mother Superior Darwi Odrade

Post a Comment